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10 Apr, 2017 13:56

Trump’s decision to hit Syrian airfield was outside UN framework – Belgian foreign minister

Trump’s decision to hit Syrian airfield was outside UN framework – Belgian foreign minister

Belgium’s top diplomat has called on US President Donald Trump to make sure his next foreign policy decisions are made within the United Nations’ framework, referring to an order to carry out a missile strike on Syria’s Shayrat Airbase overnight Thursday.

“What we are seeing today is an escalation,” Foreign Minister Didier Reynders told Bel RTL radio on Monday.

“I can understand the reaction of the American president following a chemical attack, and it’s not the first [one]. But his decision was taken outside the international framework. [Decisions] must go through the United Nations,” he said.

On Friday, the US carried out a missile strike on Shayrat Airfield near Homs in response to an alleged chemical attack on a rebel-held town in Idlib province, the blame for which Washington pinned on the Assad government. The Pentagon said the missiles destroyed 20 Syrian warplanes.

White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said during a press briefing on Friday that the US military action in Syria was a “clear response on humanitarian purposes that has been widely praised throughout the globe.”

Vanessa Beeley,an  independent researcher and journalist who has traveled to Syria on numerous occasions, told RT that Washington’s “humanitarian response” was in fact “in contradiction to international law and the charter of the UN.”

“This is the problem of everything the US is doing in Syria. And it is not only by this action. They did it already six years ago when the US, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia and Qatar organized the civil war in Syria. So there is already a long list of problems being created by the United States, and what happened in the last 24 hours was another example of taking unilateral steps with disregard for the UN Charter and international law,” she said. 

A total of 59 Tomahawk missiles were deployed in the pre-dawn US attack, ordered by Trump. Only 23 of them reached their target, the Russian Defense Ministry said, however. The US denied this claim, insisting almost all of the missiles hit their targets.

The Russian Defense Ministry noted on Saturday that Washington has presented no fact-based evidence yet of any alleged chemical weapons’ presence at Shayrat Airfield.

Syrian officials have confirmed that at least six people were killed and several others wounded in the operation. According to the governor of Homs, the US strike killed 14 people, including nine civilians.

The Red Cross characterized the current situation in Syria as an “international armed conflict” following the US strike, which forced the organization to change its assessment of the ongoing conflict. The ICRC previously regarded the Syrian conflict as an internal conflict.

“When a military of a certain state attacks the military of another state on the territory of that state, and there are legitimate military targets, that amounts immediately to international armed conflict,” ICRC spokesperson for the Near and Middle East region, Ralph El Hage, told RT on Sunday.

The US attack on the Syrian airfield was criticized by Moscow, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying that President Putin “regards the strikes as aggression against a sovereign nation,” in violation of international law, “and also under an invented pretext.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for an international fact-finding mission to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, and condemned the US military action.

Americans see themselves as the “world leader” and the “world’s gendarme,”he said, as quoted by SANA. US President Donald Trump “claimed that he wanted to fight terrorism, but today all terrorists in Syria are celebrating the US attack,” Rouhani said on Sunday.